U.S. is among top 10 countries more susceptible to skin cancer, study says

Populations with lighter skin have higher rates of melanoma, study says


MIAMI – Researchers who analyzed data from the World Health Organization found that the United States has the ninth-highest skin cancer rate in the world.

New Zeland has the highest skin cancer susceptibility, according to the annual Skin Cancer Susceptibility Index.  Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark follow. And the U.S. ranks behind the United Kingdom and just ahead of Slovania.

"This study is indicative that a high level of UV exposure, coupled with a lighter skin tone led to a higher diagnosis of skin cancer," Dr. Dietrich Abeck said in a statement. 

The U.S. records, on average, 72,000 melanoma-related cases per year, according to the index.

Researchers from Derma.plus used the WHO's reported number of new cases of melanoma disease in each country and the country's overall population. The index also considers other factors, such as skin type and the ultraviolet ray intensity.

Here is how to prevent skin cancer:

1. Stay in the shade between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

2. Do not burn your skin 

3. Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds

4. Cover up with UV-blocking sunglasses, clothing and a hat.

5. Apply two tablespoons of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. 

6. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. 

7. Keep newborns out of the sun. 

8. Examine your skin from head to toe every month. 

9. See your physician every year for a professional skin exam. 

10. Skip the sunroof and skip the convertible. 

Source: Skin Cancer Foundation

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